At the morning skate on Thursday, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville threw the lines into the blender. Big time.
Richard Panik – Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane
Artemi Panarin – Artem Anisimov – Teuvo Teravainen
Andrew Ladd – Marcus Kruger -Marian Hossa
Brandon Mashinter -Andrew Desjardins -Dale Weise
One of the reasons for separating Toews and Kane for the last few years was to separate the top two offensive players on the roster, forcing opponents to focus on one or the other. But the emergence of Panarin has made him a top weapon for the Hawks, and that line has carried the Hawks on far too many occasions. Separating Kane and Panarin will hopefully create space for both, forcing the Blues to choose one of the two lines for Alex Pietrangelo to skate against. Pietrangelo has been fantastic in this series; making him choose one of Kane or Panarin should give the other an opportunity make an impact.
Teravainen has struggled in the series, but moving him back to the wing on a line with Panarin should open up opportunities for him to make an offensive impact. The third line of Ladd-Kruger-Hossa could present a number of problems for the Blues as well, and the fourth line should be physical (emphasis on should).